Has Evolution for Homo Sapiens or other species really stopped? That is what one of my primary school teachers suggested…and she may not be alone! “The human mind cannot possibly grasp the full meaning of the term of a hundred million years; it cannot add up and perceive slight variations, accumulated during an almost infinite number of generations.” – Charles Darwin, on the ability of humans to understand the evolution of species, including our own.
What does it mean for us or our fellow species, in today context? For one, we don’t need to wait an “infinite number” of generations to predict an evolution trend for our species, everything happens on fast lane today. For some time now, humans altered the environment, also impacting fellow species in the process, to maximize their own short term survival. However today level of comfort and scale (~7.9 billion people) make us extremely vulnerable to relative quick changes, like those climate or pandemics induced. Starting with Covid-19, despite technological success of developing an apparently effective vaccine in record time, we have difficulties rolling it over short time to billions of people! What if a climate event destroys today the main sources of food, can humans wait like in case of Covid vaccine for at least a year to receive their daily needed calories? Climate plays an important part in determining the average numbers of species, and periodical seasons of extreme cold or drought (or floods or wildfires or other natural disaster) may be the most effective of all checks – as ecosystems developed complex balancing mechanisms to hamper a species growing to an unsustainable size by comparison with available resources.
Humans need to embrace natural evolution and try as well to adapt to the changing environment, as genes editing and other technological silver bullets may not be there for everyone, at the right time (if needed, in future). Stay informed, stay fit, fight climate change not with better air-conditioning, but also with physical and metal training (alternative hot/cold showers), train your ability for resisting hunger through fasting (one day per week of fasting does miracles on long term to your health – experts say) etc. If not for yourself, maybe more motivating is thinking at the genes your children will inherit: strong/fit genes vs. vulnerable ones e.g. obesity and diabetics disposition may be inherited at birth by a child just as height is also influenced at birth by parents – basketball players can grow taller if they perform this sport from childhood, and some of these height gains are passed through genes to their next generation. Walking instead of driving will contribute greatly to your health – as organs or parts of your body not used would reduce their capacity (ask an astronaut), restricting your abilities when you might really need them…Remember, both knowledge and health give you more freedom, the freedom to chose, making your life richer and happier! Training your mind and body may be your best evolutionary investments!
When it comes to other species, we just need to make sure we don’t interfere in their environment – easier said than done considering today hunger for resources of a growing billions strong human population. That is why natural parks are very important today, in the worst case scenario of human induced disaster, these Noah’s arcs full of wildlife biodiversity, can rapidly extend and given enough time (potentially thousands of years), they can restore the balance of the nature. I think we have the responsibility as humans to hedge against such risk, to make sure not all complex life will disappear together with us from the face of the planet in event of disaster, rolling back billions of years of evolution this time, letting planet to be inhabited only by the more simple forms of life. Best case scenario, if no disaster comes, our life will definitely not be so lonely on this Planet and so the investment was worthwhile. You may help, by visiting such natural parks – as Covid restrictions ease around the world, make your travel plan today! Chose nature, chose wildlife, chose the proximity natural parks and enjoy!